Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GWvsJohn talks Chaos: the Basics

I just need to accept it. The only 40k army I care about is Chaos Space Marines. And frankly, can you blame me? Horus, traitoris extremis, the Long War, 10,000 year old blood soaked reavers, plus the power armor and bolt guns that make the 40k universe run. Chaos Space Marines are bad ass. They're the army I most enjoy playing, so I'm going to play them. However, I also like to win. This creates a conundrum as according to the interwebs, CSM are le suck. This is not acceptable. We need to find a way to fix it or work around it. So, we're going to shift focus on the Chaos Codex review and try to work on building a competitive CSM force. As much fun as it is to make fun of Fabius Bile and the Thousand Sons, I will be reviewing only viable options until we exhaust all of them. The focus will be on how these units fit into a competitive army. This post will lay down the basics on how to build a competitive army in general with a leaning toward my beloved traitors.

If you're talking about how to build a competitive army, and you're on the internet, you really need to at least mention Stelek. The majority of what I know about making a list I learned from reading his site. Whether you agree with his style or not, he is a top notch list-builder and he comes up with a lot of out of the box competitive builds. I think he is able to do this because he has a "backwards" approach to list-building. Rather than read a new codex, find a cool/effective unit and figure out how to use it in an army, he comes up with the army he wants to build first, then finds units that fit that army.

So now the question becomes, what do we need to build a competitive army. Amazingly, Stelek just lays it out for us in a seemingly throwaway post a while back. I'm going to expand on what he mentions there on what i think he means and incorporate some other concepts that we all are (or should be) familiar with.

"Have balanced firepower, aka a variety of infantry and mechanized?" This could be interpreted as bringing both infantry and mechanized in your army, but I think he means bringing both anti-troop and anti-mech firepower. And you need to bring enough of both. Green tide lists suck, but if your army only has lascannons and no anti-troop, being able to kill 12 Chimeras in 6 turns won't help a bit and you'll lose. This point is further stressed in the "6+6" concept, which says, at 2000 points, you need 6 dedicated anti-tank units and 6 dedicated anti-infantry units. I can already hear you protesting, "But GWvsJohn, what about duality?" Fear not little ones, duality is still important. Take Long Fangs for example. Everyone brings Missile Launcher Fangs, not Lascannon Fangs. Why? It's not solely because they're 15 points more, because 15 points for +1 S and ap2 is actually not a bad deal. It's also because that extra 15 points prevents you from firing frag missiles, which aren't amazing, but can cause some damage late game when enemy infantry is huddled in the wrecks of their transports. So, to summarize, dual units are better than single purpose units, but every unit needs a purpose, and you need 6 infantry focused units and 6 mech focused units.

"Can you bring mech?" Which really needs the follow-up sentence, "because if you can, you should." The benefits of mech have been expertly explained throughout 3++, so I'm going to assume you're all familiar. I do want to mention the "1+1" concept that goes hand-in-hand with mech/transports. If you can bring a transport that projects threat of its own, you can, in effect, bring 2 units in one FoC slot. This seems to be one of the WAAC/net community favorites that GW actually endorses as the last 2 books both have really good 1+1 transports in Raiders, Venoms and Psybacks. Any unit that can take one of those probably should, even if they never intend to embark.

"Do you get melta?" Having ready access to melta, and especially fast melta is a HUGE advantage for a list. What is really comes down to is reliability. If you can't bring melta, you need another "reliable" way to pop tanks in order to compete. These includes non-Coteaz GK with a ton of s8 autocannons and s7 rending, Dark Eldar with dozens of s8 lances and Tau with their s10 rail guns.

"Is your range effective?" This is probably one of the concepts that trips players up the most. If you aren't projecting threat from turn 1, you are in trouble. It's a problem for many GK (and why everyone brings Psyflemen), Vulkan, Orks, Nids, and especially our boys in spikes, the Chaos Space Marines.

"Do your troops not suck?" When 5e first hit, it was all troops all the time, then pendulum swung back and it was "min troops, kill everything" and now it's heading back to more troops, but in a smarter way. 2/3 of the book missions have objectives and most good tourney missions will have 3+ objectives. That doesn't mean take 6 and call it a day, you need to be smart and efficient. Multiple, smaller troops are better than fewer, bigger troops. Keep 6+6 and 1+1 in mind. And now we reach Stelek's final adding rule, "4+2" The best lists will have 4 troops choices that move forward, control midfield and threaten far objectives and 2 troops choices that sit back, protect your fire base and control home objectives. Remember, this isn't a hard and fast rule. If you have tough troops choices like a full 10-man tactical squad in a rhino, you probably don't need 4 to threaten midfield. If you have fast troops choices that can rapidly redeploy like DE in Raiders and BA in Razorbacks you can be more aggressive and pull them back later in the game.

"If you aren’t mech in any way, is your foot list actually effective?" There are very few lists with zero vehicles that can compete. Loganwing, SM Bikers, BA Jumpers, Deathwing and I think that's it. Pure foot Dark Eldar and Nids are borderline. Note that CSM are not on the list, so let's forget a Spikey Horde right now.

So that's it. Everything you need to make a competitive list laid out right in front of us by the master himself. Let's put it all together.

6 anti-tank units
6 anti-infantry units
6 troops, 4 to move forward, 2 to hang back
Long ranged weapons to project threat from turn 1
Melta to give me reliability in anti-tank
Transports that project their own threat

I think Chaos Space Marines can actually hit all the criteria. The problem is going to be the first 2. As you have seen in previous CSM reviews and you will continue to see in my further reviews, the problem with CSM units isn't usually the units themselves. It's their cost. Everything (with rare exception) in Codex Chaos Space Marines is overcosted and some things ridiculously so. In order to field a competitive CSM list, I'm going to have to be VERY frugal.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...